At the festival which was organized in cooperation with Konak Municipality and Izmir Jewish Community Foundation, the Etz Hayim Synagogue, one of the oldest synagogues in the city and whose restoration was completed with the support of Izmir Development Agency (IZKA) was also opened.
"Our support will continue”
Noting that Izmir Metropolitan Municipality works in close contact with the Izmir Jewish Community and other stakeholders to protect and maintain Izmir's Jewish heritage, President Tunçz Soyer said, "Just 50-60 years ago, the population of Izmir was 400,000, while the jewish community had a population of 50-55 thousand. Together with our Mayor of Konak, we are ready to do everything we can to ensure that our Jewish citizens, whose numbers have fallen to thousands today, do not leave Izmir. I wish this festival would be an occasion for that. I wish that this festival, where we will experience Sephardic traditions with various activities, will be a festival that will bring your cultural wealth, values and virtues into the light. We will do our best to keep this festival alive and announce it to a wide audience.”
"We will bring this festival to an international level”
Konak Mayor Abdul Batur stated that the Sephardic people who have known this land as their hometown since 1492 have contributed greatly to İzmir's cultural treasure and he mentioned that “While making our festival traditional, our biggest goal is to bring it to an international level.”
Festival Director Nesim Bencoya said, "Our festival, which is held only in Izmir in the Mediterranean Basin and is also cared for by foreign representatives, has turned 3 years old. We think that this festival will contribute greatly to the tourism of both Izmir and Kemeralti and its place in the world.”
"We do these kinds of festivals to explain ourselves”
Avram Sevinti, president of the Jewish Community of Izmir, said that they came to the country in 1492 when Sultan Beyazit II accepted them and lived here for 500 years. He also mentioned that “In these 500 years, except the last 15 years, the Jewish community in general lived a somewhat withdrawn, not-so-open life. So we wanted to explain ourselves and open up. We do such festivals to introduce ourselves in Izmir and Istanbul. I can say that we have succeeded in these as well.”